What’s Next for Me after LifeWay?


Please indulge me for one more blog post about my decision to retire from LifeWay. In my previous post, I shared the reasons why I am retiring, why God is leading me to leave an organization I love deeply. In this post, I will share some of my plans for life post-LifeWay.

I understand the plans of man are not always the plans of God. Everything I write here could change in the blink of an eye. I also want to make clear my total loyalty to LifeWay. I will not get in the way of the next CEO, but I will be the biggest cheerleader for this company I love so much.

While I do look forward to a lot more flexibility to spend time with my family, I will continue to do the work of ministry. I cannot imagine a life otherwise. Here are my plans for now:

  • Revitalize Network. In anticipation of my retirement, I applied with the IRS to start a non-profit 501c3 where churches will work joyously together for greater health and revitalization. I am incredibly excited about this future; and I think God has great plans for it. Revitalize Network has now been approved, and it is ready to launch next month.
  • ThomRainer.com. I will continue this blog and related ministries on the blog. The total number of views and emails opened is over 10 million each year. We touch every nation in the world. I thank God for the influence He has given this daily blog. And I particularly love the post every Sunday (“Pray for”) where we pray for a specific church.
  • Our podcasts: Rainer on Leadership and Revitalize and Replant. I have been blown away by the influence and growth of these two podcasts. I look forward to investing even more time to this ministry in the days ahead.
  • Church Answers. We started Church Answers as a place where church leaders could ask questions 24/7 and get answers quickly, usually within an hour or two. It has experienced phenomenal growth. Church Answers has two certification ministries that we will continue to improve and grow: Church Consultation University and Interim Pastor University. We will continue to add to the ministries of Church Answers as God leads and as we hear from the churches.
  • Books. I have written 28 books, most related to local churches. God willing, I do not plan to slow down the pace.
  • Speaking/Conferences. I will continue to do a number of speaking engagements digitally and a few in person each year.
  • I am a church member. I am not referring to the book by the same name. I am referring to my commitment to be a good and faithful church member. I will spend the majority of my time locally at The Church at Spring Hill where my son Jess is pastor. But I also want to spend more time at West Bradenton Baptist Church in Florida where my son Sam is pastor. That church will likely be my preferred winter location. I am not forgetting my other son, Art, and his family either.

I do not presume upon the will and plans of God. For now, this direction is where I see Him taking me in my “retirement” years.

I am a blessed man.

I am a grateful man.

Posted on August 29, 2018

With nearly 40 years of ministry experience, Thom Rainer has spent a lifetime committed to the growth and health of local churches across North America.
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  • My heart sank when I first saw your headline announcement and then I read on.
    So glad to read your complete message in that you will continue to serve.

    You have been the truth in so much of the churches in the country and has lead me so much in new knowledge. Thank God for you and for continued blessings.

  • You will be missed! But it’s good to know that we can still have access to your voice and godly wisdom. I pray that God will continue to bless you and your family as you embark on the next phase of HIS purpose for your life.

  • Kevin Tolo says on


    Because of your podcasts and blog postings, I have become much more active in my local church. I thank you for that!!

    My future (God willing) will also include an apprenticeship with an executive pastor where I can learn the skills needed to serve my church and overall church community better.

    All thanks to your encouragement.

    I’m very thankful for your Christ centered heart.

  • God bless you. I am 43 and Pastor a church in rural southern Ohio that started wit 26 people 6 years ago and now has close to 400 members. I aspire to be a leader and influencer as you have been to so many.

  • Ron Gamble says on

    What an excellent idea, it is muchly needed. Will look forward to hearing more and hope there is some chances for possible volunteer help.

  • Brother Thom,

    I’m new to your work with Lifeway and your revitalize and replant podcast has been a GODSEND. My wife and I are part of a revitalization and having your voice in my head has made the task a little bit easier. I really appreciate your group and the material is second to none. Please keep doing the revitalize podcast!

  • Dr. Christopher M. Webb says on

    Dr. Rainer,

    I have been truly blessed and encouraged by the kingdom work God has called you to. I am encouraged by the fact of knowing your emphasis on Church Revitalization and Replanting will continue. God bless you!

  • bob goodwin says on

    DR. Rainer.
    God bless you as you continue to bless others in the cause for Christ. Thank you for everything that you have done, are doing now, and what you and the Lord will do in the future to strengthen the church, and reach the lost. If you are ever in the central florida area, lakeland, winter haven etc, drop me a line, would love to meet you in person.
    God Bless always,
    Bob Goodwin

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